What to make of the storming of the Capitol?

According to reports in the media, some members of the US cabinet are discussing whether to remove President Trump from office after his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, where the formal confirmation of Joe Biden's election victory was due to take place, on Wednesday. Four hours passed before the security services finally escorted all the demonstrators out of the building. This day will be remembered, commentators note.

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La Stampa (IT) /

A strategic liar - like Hitler

Donald Trump has a historical model for his "Big Lie" strategy, columnist Bill Emmott warns in La Stampa:

“It was Adolf Hitler who in modern times catalogued and then weaponised this tactic with the greatest success. In his notorious book 'Mein Kampf' he explained how big lies can be far more powerful than small ones, for people cannot imagine that colossal untruths could really be fabricated, either by themselves or by others. … Especially when deployed by people in positions of power and hence credibility. That is what Trump has been attempting in the United States of America. The narrative he has built up about the 'stolen' November election is exactly that sort of Big Lie. ... And, just as Hitler, Trump has made his own Big Lie more potent by having built up the idea that his opponents' claims and criticisms are themselves lies, 'fake news'.”

Večernji list (HR) /

An attempted coup

Shortly before he is due to leave office Trump has really hit rock bottom, Večernji list comments:

“There are many words that could be used to describe what happened in Washington yesterday, nevertheless it should be said clearly: this is an attempted coup, inspired and supported by the behaviour of the American President himself. ... Trump is a dangerous president, that was clear from the start. But yesterday took things to a new level. ... It's easy to say that American democracy is stronger than Trump. However, it's disturbing to see how Trump's behaviour has destroyed the independence of many institutions as well as the reasoning of the Republican Party, which has behaved like a hostage in the hands of a hostage-taker.”

Sme (SK) /

The fireworks of his vanity

The current president's sheer egotism is behind these events, Sme believes:

“The image of angry masses attacking the Capitol is what his voters are to remember - not a defeated Trump obediently moving out of the White House. He doesn't care how much he disrupts the democratic process of confirming Biden's election victory. He wants to claim the last drops of attention for himself. ... He sits in his armchair and applauds the fireworks of his vanity. This is a serious warning for other countries as well. Populists with personality disorders won't keep their despotism in check even in advanced democracies. They don't not follow democratic patterns, they merely simulate them at most.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Trump must pay for this

The tipping point has been reached and the still-incumbent president must be held to account, the Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

“He is mocking the US, destroying democracy, and calling for a coup. In any other democracy in the world this would be seen as an attempted coup. Trump must pay for this. ... If there is one positive aspect of the attack on the Capitol, it is this: anyone who goes along with Trump's madness now will go down with the president. The protesters not only chased away the Congressmen: they also drove Trump out of the White House. With this day his term of office has come to an end. He should be taken out in handcuffs.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Even the best democracy is fragile

Trump is once again putting US democracy to the test, writes the Kleine Zeitung:

“His behaviour shows that even the best constitution, the most experienced legislators, the best-lived democratic tradition is fragile and has cracks that can cause the whole construction to break. ... Anyone who thought a president who has been voted out of office was a lame duck was very much mistaken. ... The hope is that the vast majority of Americans have no interest in a civil war, and that the National Guard will get the situation under control. But that evening will be remembered. As an evening when even the oldest and longest existing democracy clearly saw the edge of the abyss.”

Sydsvenskan (SE) /

Congress showing its strength

The fact that Congress resumed its session after all the commotion sends an important signal, Sydsvenskan counters:

“Is this the end of an extremely dangerous political phase - or the beginning of something even worse? The fact that Congress resumed its work on the same day as the attack definitely sends a message of strength to American citizens and the rest of the world: American democracy is strong, and does not bow to threats and violence. This is the best signal we can receive right now.”

NV (UA) /

Putin laughs, Beijing is thankful

Autocrats around the world are enjoying the events as they unfold, writes Gérard Roland, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, in NV:

“The rest of the world is watching the greatest crisis in the American political system since the Civil War with confusion. Putin is laughing, even if Trump was completely useless to him because the sanctions have not been lifted and no serious measures have been taken to support his regime. The Chinese leaders can't believe their eyes. Thanks to Trump, they now have many concrete examples that can be used to explain to the Chinese why democracy is bad and the communist regime is better.”